For every savory episode of TASTE AND TOAST, host Ashanti Middleton raises her glass to review the best food and drink, with a casual style and high-class swagger combination that has won the hearts of foodies from all walks of life! Ashanti had us hooked after the first bite because TASTE AND TOAST speaks to a new generation of socially networked, mobilized, tech-savvy, culturally aware individuals seeking the most adventurous, interesting, culturally relevant, and tasty restaurants around.
Ashanti sat down for LATTES WITH LESLIE and shared her SIX CELEBRITY SECRETS:
1. I’m 100% lesbian but my male celebrity crush is Morris Chestnut.
2. My dream vacation is to go to Germany.
3. Garlic is my afrodisiac.
4. I’m dying to get my boat license.
5. I have 3 best friends that I’ve had for over 25 years. Jasmine, Tyshemia, and Cindal.
6. I pour peanuts in my soda.
Have a seat with Ashanti at the best eateries around: www.tasteandtoastwithus.com
Leslie Birkland falls in love with the Work of HeART charity venue, The Samuel Lynne Gallery.
Leslie Birkland invites you to join her at the Work of HeART charity event on July 27th in Dallas, Texas.
Purchase TICKETS or become a SPONSOR at: www.TexasLawyersforChildren.org/events/july2017
Conversations in LA Star Gustavo Velasquez
Gustavo Velasquez first caught our eye on the red carpet at the 2017 Daytime Emmy Awards as a Daytime Digital Drama Series “Best Actor” nominee for sleeper hit, “Conversations in LA.” His journey of getting there is one aspiring actors dream of: he was “discovered” in a local Starbucks and called in to audition for the role of “Gus” in “Conversations.” In his first acting gig, Velasquez is fascinating to watch opposite veteran stage actress Anne Marie Cummings (as “Michelle”) while they explore the taboo subject of an older woman in a relationship with a younger man. While Michelle’s age is something Gus grapples with, for a time, it’s Michelle who’s torn between her desire to just have sex with the young Gus versus being in a loving, committed relationship with him.
Michelle turns to her pet loss therapist for help and her two close friends, Alex and Nicole (in the midst of denying their own mid-life crisis’), witness Michelle’s transformation and become obsessed with redirecting her life down a path they deem acceptable and “normal.”
Conversations in LA, Photo by Paul Smith
Hispanic Hollywood’s break-out star, Gustavo Velasquez took a break while shooting an episode for Season 2 and enjoyed some Lattes With Leslie — and spilled his Six Celebrity Secrets:
1) Business Mindset.
I graduated cum laude with my Accounting Degree before
making the shift to Acting. Accounting was never my back up plan, I
just really enjoyed business. At 18, I got my Real Estate License and started knocking on doors trying to convince anybody who would listen that I was their go-to-guy for all their Real Estate needs. All the veterans in the office thought I was a nice kid until I started making multiple sales. They had me give a presentation on selling to the office. I remember saying “I just go out there and sell”. I guess I was just fearless, naive and confident. A business mindset has really helped me in my Acting career.
2) The Great Outdoors.
I am a huge adrenaline junkie. Snowboarding, Surfing,
Skateboarding, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing and so on. I just love being outdoors and doing extreme sports. The part of my mind that is supposed to say “that`s not safe, don’t do it” does not exist. I also love bringing friends and family with me when I go. There is just something about surfing with a great group of friends or
snowboarding with family that makes life timeless.
3) It`s all about the CRAFT.
I truly believe it does not matter what you look like or who you
know. Yes, looking a certain way and having connections may get
you some jobs, but a real artist wants to affect people with their
work. To affect someone through acting takes a huge amount of
training, sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears. One of my teachers used
to say “it takes a superhuman effort”. You have to be vulnerable,
fearless and bare your soul. Life is short. It`s not about money or
credits for me. I want to get lost in my characters the same way
Daniel Day Lewis, Tom Hardy and Johnny Depp do. I have taken
endless classes over the years and pretty much done everything I
could to hone my craft. I will always continue searching for truth in
my craft. The truth will set you free.
4) Class Clown.
I love making people laugh. I like to be as sarcastic as possible
during every occasion. Even when the occasion clearly does not call
for sarcasm. My brother and sisters will attest to that. I get it from
my parents. My dad and mom are the funniest people in the world to me. I just think life is never to be taken so seriously. Yes, work smart and do everything you can to accomplish your dreams. But, have fun during this beautiful journey we call life.
5) Days of Thunder.
Tom Cruise is one of the reasons I wanted to go into film. I can
still remember being glued to my TV watching his films. Days of
Thunder, Risky Business, Rain Man, Top Gun, The Color of Money, Far and Away, Cocktail, Jerry Maguire and so on. Tom Cruise is one of my all time favorite iconic actors.
6) Motivations Speaking.
I have been told multiple times that I should be a motivational
speaker. I guess my drive, determination, passion, and work ethic is
something people admire. I really love helping people reach there
full potential. There is so much untapped talent I see in people that I know with the right push they can shine bright. Motivational
speaking is a huge goal of mine. I truly feel if society operated from
a place of empathy, vulnerability, truth and smart work habits the
world would be a better place. Hopefully one day I can be the
go-to-guy for advice on reaching your full potential for anyone who is willing to listen.
Check-out Season 1 of Conversations in LA: www.conversationsinla.com